“Where do you want this?” Michael asks as he holds the television.
“Uh, I don’t know. How about there,” she tells him, gesturing absently to a table beside her.
The apartment they’re in is painted a garish but fading green. His boots sink into the aging teal carpeting.
The television gets placed on the table--disconnected. It doesn’t matter. They’re not there to watch television.
Their target, Willie Kane, comes by for a visit and rambles wistfully about a long dead dog.
“I’ve been in worse,” Nikita later declares as she eyes the cracking plaster. Fault lines run up and down the walls.
Unboxing just enough houseware goods to make it look believable takes no time at all.
Unboxing surveillance equipment and calibrating it takes most of the evening.
The equipment isn’t Section issued but serviceable.
They work quietly and methodically during which Michael notes that Nikita’s fingernails are painted with pearlescent glitter nail polish.
They order Thai food for dinner. The delivery boy looks terrified to be in the neighborhood. Michael gives him a generous tip in apology.
They take turns using the small bathroom. Teeth brushed, body bathed and a lingering but rote kiss before they turn off the lights leaves Michael feeling off balance.
Police sirens wail in the distance. The neon lights from the tattoo parlor on the corner illuminates the threadbare curtains.
Michael lies on his side of the bed; Nikita on hers. Section isn’t watching, but he doesn’t touch her, nor does she touch him.
In the morning, they don’t wake up with their limbs intertwined.
Michael spends his days tailing Willie Kane. A good portion of his nights as well.
He comes back to the apartment smelling of marijuana.
“I can get high just being in the same room with you,” Nikita remarks when he walks in.
She’s painting her toes candy apple red. The open bottle is next to the laptop where she monitors Willie’s video feed.
Michael showers off the stench from his hair and body. It clashed horribly with the aroma of basil and garlic that lingered in the air from Nikita’s lunch.
In the kitchen, Nikita washes dishes with the radio playing in the background.
Patti Smith sings about doing the watusi and never ending horses.
She offers him a grilled cheese sandwich and homemade tomato soup
“I went out for groceries and cooked. Researching the Bonaventure family didn’t exactly take all day.”
They sit together and eat off of chipped bowls and melamime plates. The sandwich is toasted a warm gold brown and the soup is deeply satisfying.
When he glances at Nikita, she looks quietly pleased.
In the background, Otis Redding now croons about loving too long.
Willie stays in and invites Michael over for beers.
“Play nice with the other kids,” Nikita teases on his way out. Michael winks at her in response and the shocked and delighted look she gives him boosts his spirits.
Michael’s no fool. Nikita’s been somewhat aloof ever since she returned from her three week Section mandated marriage to Helmut Volker.
He hopes fifteen days will give them some much needed time to reconnect with each other, in addition to giving Nikita the opportunity to talk over what’s clearly bothering her.
The next evening Michael corners Nikita at the kitchen counter. Willie is out cold in his own apartment sleeping off a hangover.
The skimpy crop top she’s been wearing around the apartment has been torturing him since he first saw it. The light jacket she wears over it only accentuates its uncomplicated sexiness.
His right hand settles on her exposed, flat stomach, the heat of her body nearly sears his hand. With his other hand Michael’s fingertips skim her bare arm.
He drops a trail of open mouthed kisses down her neck to her shoulder.
“You feelin’ horny, babe,” she purrs.
Her remarks almost stop him in his tracks before he realizes that she’s playing a role. He pulls back to question her decision to perform when they’re not the ones under surveillance. His name on her lips stops him.
She turns to face him and looks at him from under the cover of pale eyelashes. Eyes big and earnest.
She runs her tongue and teeth along his unshaven jawline. A hand rubs at his groin and palms his growing hardness. Her mouth engulfs his chin and sucks.
Their joining is not the most graceful.
Michael hoists her onto the counter and Nikita plunges her tongue into his mouth. Conquering. Devouring. Her kiss is all teeth and aggression. Clothing is pushed aside to reach sensitive skin.
His jeans are down by his knees. Nikita’s jacket is discarded and her top removed to reveal her breasts. Her jeans and underwear are pushed down far enough to give him access.
He enters her with great force and he swears that Nikita’s brow furrows in pain. He kisses that spot and endeavors to go slowly, but Nikita has other ideas. She places her hands on the counter behind her for leverage and proceeds to fuck herself violently on his cock. She’s not looking for tender.
Michael quits fighting her and matches her ardent pace.
Nikita moans wantonly, encouraging Michael to speed up his thrusting. She tightens her vaginal muscles and it takes all this willpower not to climax right there.
He lowers his head and envelopes one of her nipples with his mouth. He bites the hardened bud and tugs at it with his teeth. “Yes!” comes her breathy cry and she alters her position to allow him more friction on her clit.
Michael can sense Nikita’s frustration as her orgasm remains just out of reach. She keens loudly and rocks on him with purpose. He can tell she’s very, very close. She just needs an extra push.
He stops his thrusting and withdraws from the heat of her body, his cock still achingly erect and glistening from her arousal. Nikita looks at him in annoyance before she comprehends his intentions. Removing their remaining clothes they stumble towards the bed and fall, a tangle of limbs.
For too brief a moment they kiss and touch. Soft willing skin beneath his hands. Nikita’s arms and legs anchoring him to her. Her mouth, passionate, on his.
Suddenly, Nikita pushes him away and turns to crawl on her hands and knees and parts her legs at the ready. She issues a challenging look over her shoulder. This is not what he had in mind, but he follows her lead once more.
Michael kisses the tempting globes in front of him. His hand glides up her spine with affection before he kneels behind her, positions himself at her entrance, and pushes in.
They groan in unison at the feeling of their bodies joined once more.
“God, Michael, yes...more,” she murmurs, overwhelmed by sensation.
He thrusts into her with urgency. Her body grips his erection in its protective cocoon of heat. She’s so wet...so tight. The smell of sex permeates the room and Nikita’s moans of pleasure pushes him to his limits.
Her back is a canvas of creamy skin. Her muscles ripple enticingly with the strain of holding herself up. The irresistible call of her skin causes Michael to lower himself to worship its beauty. His fingers interweave with hers while his lips drift vigorously and without discrimation over her back. Michael uses the texture of his facial stubble to add additional stimulation. He’s not disappointed when a breathy cry leaves her.
Nikita’s arms can no longer sustain her and she drops her upper body to the mattress, her face jammed into the bedsheets. Michael straightens and his fingers are back digging into her hips. She pants heavily every time the head of his shaft collides with her cervix. Nikita sneaks her right hand between her legs and works at her clit with determination.
“Come here,” Michael orders as he lifts Nikita’s boneless upper body to rest upward against his. His hands cup her breasts and squeeze aggressively. Another deep moan reverberates in her chest. Her nipples are rock hard against his palms and he tightens his fingers around them, twisting and pulling.
In the corner of the room is an old dresser with a weathered mirror attached. Their bodies, joined as one, reflect back at them. Nikita’s eyes are squeezed shut as her fingers remain buried between her legs and Michael buried to the hilt inside her. It’s a tantalizing tableau.
“Open your eyes...Nikita...open them,” he whispers into her left ear.
“Oh, God,” she exclaims when she catches sight of their reflection. Her left arm goes behind his head and tangles her fingers in his hair. The mirror image does the same thing. The action elongates her beautiful torso turning an already intensely erotic image even more so.
“Michael,” she moans, before she turns her head and captures his lips in a lush kiss. When her orgasm hits she shutters violently, her moans are released into the confines of his mouth.
Michael follows her moments later with his own climax.
In his post orgasmic haze he thankfully still has enough control of his faculties to lower them both down carefully onto the rumpled bed sheets.
They face each other, slowly allowing their heart rates to achieve something resembling normal.
There is a chasm of bedding between them but that doesn’t stop Michael from tracing a finger along her eyebrow and down her cheek. He reaches for her hand and brings it to his lips. Nikita looks back at him with heavy lidded eyes.
“Wow,” Nikita whispers before exhaustion takes her.
Michael watches Nikita sleep. It’s a restless sleep as she tosses and turns throughout the night. He runs his hand up and down her spine in what he hopes is a soothing motion.
Nothing he does seems to give her peace.
He’s not proud of the way they came together earlier, regardless of the fact that Nikita dictated the terms of their coupling. Faint purple bruising mark Nikita’s hips and her back and breasts are slightly pink with beard irritation. He let himself be swept away with his frustration over her continuing apathy.
The following morning Nikita is distant and withdrawn. She says the bare minimum before Michael leaves for another day of following Willie.
They both find shelter in their assignment. They report to Operations Willie Kane’s comings and goings as well as background on his associates.
With both of them clad in tailored, black armor and back in the sterile environment of Section One, they can refocus. They’re not the blue collar lovers who live in run down apartment buildings, but highly skilled and polished antiterrorism operatives. They make life and death decisions every day.
They love each other. Michael repeats that to himself. They love each other.
He awakens the minute Nikita’s hand touches him.
“Nikita,” he says into the darkened room. The neon lights from outside partially illuminate her.
Michael reaches for the hand wrapped around his shaft but she refuses to release him.
“Let me do this for you. Please.” There’s an edge to her voice. Desperation.
“Not like this. You don’t owe me anything.”
“Just like this,” she murmurs as her hand works him in even strokes.
Whatever response his body had initially given has faded. He lies partially flaccid in her determined hand. The friction is bordering on uncomfortable.
“No, I can do this.”
He takes her hands in his and they briefly struggle against each other as they compete for dominance. The wild and desperate look in Nikita’s crystal blue eyes causes him to change tactics.
Michael lies back on the bed beneath her, vulnerable and ready to be compliant. He reaches up and cards his fingers through her wild hair before bringing her face down to breathe her in. His mouth ghosts over hers, teasing and cajoling. She still struggles against him slightly but he uses his touch to soothe her, like an untamed mustang. A kiss on her cheek, her nose, her eyelids, and her brows, everywhere but where she wants it. Nikita moves to seal their mouths together, but he eludes her. When he finally kisses her, it’s the most delicate of kisses.
He slips his tongue inside her mouth and slowly lets the kiss intensify. They spend some time like this, letting the heat of the moment build to a fever pitch. During this time he’s become fully erect, luxuriating in the treasure that is Nikita’s mouth and in her kiss.
Michael eases Nikita off of him to lie beside him but remains unresisting. He takes her right hand and places it on him. His foreskin has already retracted, revealing the red, slick head of his cock. Together they stroke him. He’s already leaking and they use it to lubricate their movement.
Her hand on him feels good. He lets himself enjoy the sexual pleasure their joint hands are giving him.
Nikita leans over him and her lips are pressed onto the skin of his neck. She latches on and sucks while their hands work him towards orgasm.
“You’re so hard, Michael.” There’s a hypnotic timbre to her husky voice. “I like seeing you like this. Feeling you in my hand. It feels powerful. God, you’re beautiful.”
His breathing is unsteady; his hips thrust upward in their waiting hands. Michael arches his head back into the pillow. His entire body is alight with rampant arousal. Nikita’s hand leaves him to his ministrations and it drifts down to fondle his testicles.
“You’re going to come for me, right? So I can see you. You’ve given so much of yourself. You’ve never asked for anything back.”
A powerful intimacy settles over them. Their breathing has synchronized. The heat of her body seeps through her T-shirt and onto his bare arm. Nikita’s teeth graze over the cords in his neck and involuntary grunts are starting to escape him. All of Nikita’s words are going straight to his groin.
Her hand is back on his shaft and his own falls away. She’s in control, guiding him towards completion. He watches himself slip through Nikita’s long and capable fingers; precum continues to leak out of him.
“Michael, I’m different. There’s something wrong with me,” Her words come out whisper quiet and strained. “I don’t think I can make you happy. You deserve that. I used to think I deserved it too.”
Nikita’s switch from the sexually suggestive word play to self-flagellation is cutting through the fog of his arousal. She’s confessing her alleged sins to him.
“I don’t know what I’m doing anymore. What’s the whole point of all this? Our lives aren’t ours. Why do we even kid ourselves?”
She grips him tighter, the exquisite feel of her hand stroking him stands in sharp contrast to the unsettling nature of her words.
“I’ve changed. I’m not the same person I was, and I don’t think I like her very much. ”
When his orgasm comes, it’s in no way fulfilling. Nikita’s words of loss and confusion echo in his ears.
“Tell me,” he implores her. He seeks out her eyes in the room’s partial darkness. “Don’t hide from me.”
Guilt and shame battle for dominance on her face. Her hand rests on his stomach covered in the semen he’s just spilled. “I thought maybe if I focused on you and your needs, I could center myself. There’s so much noise in my head, Michael. I wanted your strength to calm it down.”
“What are you punishing yourself for?”
Nikita scrambles off the bed and heads into the bathroom. Moments later she returns with two warm washcloths. She moves one over his body, cleansing him of his drying semen. She cleans his stomach, his penis, and his thighs.
She’s methodical and reverent but a cloud of sadness clearly weighs Nikita down. With the second cloth she runs it down his legs, his feet, his torso, his arms, and finally his hands.
She leaves the washcloths on the bedside table and curls up against him. It’s the first time since they’ve arrived in this apartment that she’s sought the comfort of his arms.
Michael doesn’t press her for more, but an unforgettable weight has lodged itself on his chest. This is not them. He can’t let this escalate. Michael doesn’t want impersonal sex. Nor does he want a partner who feels obligated to please him.
Nikita needs help and it pains him that he might not be the one who can give it.
The meeting is set. Operations will meet with Carlo Bonaventure tomorrow. It’s the last loose end that entraps Willie Kane. He and Nikita will be leaving soon.
She’s cautious around him. Not entirely business only but not entirely malleable either.
They work together to break down the surveillance gear they brought.
She kisses him and places an open cold beer in his hand. Nikita wears lip gloss that tastes of cotton candy and it leaves tacky remnants on his lips. She playfully thumbs it away and for just a second he sees a glimpse of the raw recruit she was all those years ago. All bubble gum, street honed bravado, and youthful charm.
Nikita sits long enough during a quick break to let him draw her out. She allows him the privilege of simple touch. For so many years, Michael’s fingers would ache to touch her. Doing so now is an indulgence he never tires of and Nikita knows this.
The culmination of their days in the apartment finally bubbles to the surface. It’s not entirely comprehensive but it's a start at mending what needs mending.
She speaks to him of feeling fragmented. Her feelings are tearing her in different directions and she’s having difficulty managing.
“You know a year ago, having time like this together.” Her hand on his face is comforting. She knows her words will hurt but she maintains a physical connection between them. ”Michael, I'm lost,” she confesses. “I don’t know what I am anymore.”
In so many ways they’re far removed from the people they were four months ago. Four months ago, when their passion for each other had them meeting clandestinely right under Section’s proverbial nose. Then they were discovered and the cruelty of the Gelman process was inflicted upon Nikita.
Nikita has been through a traumatic event and hasn’t been afforded enough time to heal. Her forced marriage to Helmut Volker compounded the issue. Nikita bringing up the complicated emotions surrounding Elena only confirms to Michael that Helmut Volker and his idealistic yet naive worldview meant something to her.
She’s trying to articulate how she feels. She can’t quite get the words out, but Michael is grateful for the attempt. He’ll give her all the time in the world.
Willie Kane is dead. Felled by a stray bullet in Operations’ company, but fifteen days were promised and fifteen days were earned.
“We’d prefer to wait,” Michael speaks the words he’d rather not say.
“It would be better to wait.” With her confirmation, he knows he’s done the right thing. He will not force himself onto Nikita.
Nikita exits Operations’ glass perch before he does. As he follows her down the stairs he’s afforded brief glimpses of Nikita’s spine through the long vertical slit in her blouse.
At the base of the stairs, they linger, partially hidden by a support beam near the wall.
When their eyes meet Michael sees gratitude, relief and guilt reflecting in Nikita’s eyes.
“Intel on Senegal has gone hot while we’ve been away,” he volunteers.
“You’ll be prepping the profile?”
She’ll never admit it, but Michael knows she’ll welcome the distance after cohabitating for a week.
“And the mission?”
“Possibly a few weeks. It’s too early to tell but probable.”
“You’ll be busy.” She states the obvious. “I…better leave you to it.”
Before Nikita walks away she steps into his personal space and runs her knuckles ever so slightly against the lapel of his jacket. Gone is the shimmery nail polish. In its place her nails are now buffed nude. Michael can’t help but breathe her in, deeply.
The moment quickly ends and Nikita disappears around the corner.
He stands there until he can no longer hear her heels walking away.
Nikita’s tired. That much is obvious. There’s been too much swirling around her lately; so much intensity.
Don’t leave me. The words were unspoken but thought loudly. Michael hopes the distance between them won’t allow her love to grow cold.